Posted by: Rob | May 3, 2008

A Tribute in Memory of Troy Brunet

Today, May 3rd, 2008 marks two years since Troy Brunet departed from this earth.

I did not know Troy, but I am very familiar with the nature of the beast – melanoma – that claimed him. I stumbled onto Troy’s story (written by his wife Liberty) on an internet message board for melanoma patients. I found the melanoma patient website when I was desperately combing the internet for anything – treatment, supplement, anything – that would help my wife Shelley in her own battle with the melanoma beast. I would check the profiles of those who lived nearby to see if something available around here was working for someone.

I think I found Troy’s page in the darkest hours of the night that Shelley died. I couldn’t sleep anyway, despite the fatigue of what turned out to be the last hours of Shelley’s mortal life, and so I was aimlessly surfing the internet. With no particular purpose, I returned to the places I had been haunting in the prior weeks and months. Troy was one of those “in the area” and on his page there is a fairly detailed summary of Troy’s symptoms, treatments, prognoses and then, towards the bottom, there is a gut-wrenching account of Troy’s final hours. Even through my own raw pain, I could literally feel the anguish in Liberty’s words. And they had been written some months before I had found them. All I could think was that I was inspired to somehow find out how Liberty and their children were coping; how they were doing. I think, at that point, I thought that if they could make it – survive this awful experience – then maybe I could too.

I forgot about Troy and Liberty for the next month or so. My own grief literally consumed me. I had tried to go back to work, but I didn’t really get much of anything accomplished. I simply existed, one day to the next. But at about a month out my mind came back to Troy and Liberty and I decided to reach out. There was an e-mail address listed in the contact info on the internet page. I put together a few sentences and sent it out.

Surprisingly (at least to me at the time), I received a reply from Liberty in a day or so. She and the kids were doing what they could. After all, what choice do we have, really? She was very sympathetic and offered me a link to an on-line support site for young widoweds. (Was I really a young widowed? Yes, I guess I was.) I joined that group and she introduced me somewhat to a “place” that would do much to save my sanity over the next few months.

Liberty became one of my “widow” friends, an on-line acquaintance I’ve not yet met, and we’ve kept in loose touch since then. Although nowadays most “interaction” is via Facebook, it’s still possible to keep up on the goings-on in her life and send a letter or a note of support now and then.

While I’ve only been a peripheral observer of Liberty and her kids’ lives, knowing what she’s been through as a caregiver prior to Troy’s passing and knowing what she’s had to do to rebuild a life for herself and her kids since Troy’s passing, I can only conclude that Liberty is a woman of character and resilience. That she is the kind of woman Troy would choose for a wife and partner speaks volumes.

That she is moving forward with her life as she has done has to be one of the greatest tributes I can think of to Troy Brunet. I’m sure that Troy is periodically checking in on Liberty and the kids – in spirit – from time to time and smiling.



  1. I could barely read through your blog. I’m Troy Brunet’s younger brother and in one of my many irrational moments of grief I googled his name, if for no other reason than to confirm that I am not the only one who so sorely misses him. What amazed me is something that shouldn’t have amazed me at all… that Troy managed to touch peoples lives in a way that was more profound at times than the greatest public speaker. As I said at his memorial… look left and right and you will see someone who has been touched by Troy Brunet… I can only hope they realize just how deeply…

    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I hope that what you read here brought you a small measure of peace. I know that my wife’s passing has left a large hole in the lives of her brothers and sisters. I likely haven’t recognized that enough in the face of my own grief and that of our children. Thank you for making me more aware of this.

    You know, the first I heard of Troy was when the media provided wide coverage of his honourary induction into the RCMP. At the time, it was only reported that he had cancer without specifying what kind. It was only later that I learned he had the same kind that took my wife.

    Thanks again and I wish you well.

  2. Interested in knowing his symptons prior to the diagnosis. I have a higk risk for cancer due to family history. Amazed we share the same name, my middle name is Michael.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment. I sent you an e-mail. Rob

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